At the beginning of the last day of GFW 2017, we had senior professionals from Clarks talk to us the process of creating and crafting a shoe. Head of Evolution at Clarks Rosie McKissock led the talk through the intricate collaborative processes between senior designers Helen Richard-Rees, Christopher Anderson, and last maker Kerry Hooper behind Clark’s footwear products. Kerry even did a live demonstration of building a shoe from scratch -the audience were amazed at how fast and talented she is at her work.
We were also very fortunate to have Designer John Rocha join us at GFW Live! Stage to talk about the importance of developing an individual style in this age of mass popular culture and blurring identities. At the centre of becoming more inspired and having your unique style, according to Rocha, is educating and exposing yourself to as much art and music as possible. He believes that art and music are two things enjoyed all over the world and express ideas and cultures despite geographic barriers, and experiencing the two on a global scale will naturally inspire an original style that appeals.
The first GFW Live! Conversation with Hilary Alexander on the last day was with the exciting celebrity style consultant Mark Heyes on the changing attitudes in fashion- one that is more inclusive and tolerant of diversity. With a target market aged 50 plus, Bonmarché is a brand that must be extremely considerate about providing not only comfort and flexible sizing but also an attentive shopping experience for its customers, approaching fashion through happiness and confidence of all of that wears Bonmarché.
If anyone knows about stylish childrenswear, it is Myleene Klass. Struggling to find comfortable and stylish clothes for her children, the mother of two turned to designing for Mothercare, creating clothes she believes have quality and utility without compromising style. Myleene shared that her passion for designing and branding stemmed from her days of selling fan merchandising as a singer, and now she has designer over 20 collections with Mothercare.
“Sustainability is an issue no business can ignore”, declared Phil Townsend, a leading sustainable fibre expert in the Marks and Spencer's talk “Making the Stylish Sustainable” with Head of Technical Product Development Mark Yates. Marks and Spencer's aims to be an ethical business that produces as little waste and pollution as possible. 68% of their products have ethical attributes, 99% of their wood used is sourced responsibly, and 100% of their cotton are projected to be picked sustainably by 2019. It is easy to ignore the ethical and environmental impact our shopping choices have, but luckily a big company like Marks and Spencer's is highly conscious and proves that it is possible to make the stylish sustainable.
At Graduate Fashion Week, a sense of naïve anxiety can be felt in many of the graduates and attendees. At the dawn of adulthood and career launch, this fear can seem crippling. However, famous stylist and fashion designer Gok Wan stresses, it is okay to be afraid, he says, the fear can take you a long way. He shared with us his bumpy break into fashion, leaving drama school after 12 months, working as a make-up artist, then somehow by chance becoming Linda Leeming’s assistant. Throughout any hardships though, Gok maintained his bubbly cheeriness and confident presence which is so important for success!
Words by Matilda Liu